The Dinner by Herman Koch

77%

23 Critic Reviews

This is a cunningly crafted thriller that will never allow you to look at a serviette in the same way again.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

"A European Gone Girl." --The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives -- all over the course of one meal.

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
     Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
     Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Herman Koch

See more books from this Author
HERMAN KOCH, born in 1953, is a Dutch actor and writer. He studied at the Montessori Lyceum before finishing his schooling in Russia. Koch is a renowned television actor on the series Jiskefet and a columnist for the newspaper Volkskrant. The Dinner is his sixth novel and has already won the prestigious Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. Koch currently lives in Spain.






Author Residence: Spain
 
Published February 12, 2013 by Hogarth. 306 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 10 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Want to Read
2
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Critic reviews for The Dinner
All: 23 | Positive: 20 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Dec 01 2012

At its best, a chilling vision of the ugliness of keeping up appearances.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Claire Messud on Mar 08 2013

“The Dinner,”...proves in the end strangely shallow, and this may be the most unsettling thing about it.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Feb 06 2013

“The Dinner” has been wishfully compared to Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”...Her sneaky spouses were delectable in their evil genius. The Lohmans are indigestible.

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Guardian

Above average
on Aug 17 2012

Koch paces his revelations expertly, and there are twists and turns enough to keep us reading.

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Guardian

Above average
on Jul 29 2012

The Dinner lacks the weight and finesse of We Need to Talk About Kevin, but it is a well-paced and entertaining novel.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Nov 12 2012

This is a cunningly crafted thriller that will never allow you to look at a serviette in the same way again.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by MOIRA HODGSON on Feb 15 2013

In the end, the book sits on the digestion less like an over-indulgent "fine dining" experience than Chinese food, which, as we all know, leaves you feeling hungry a couple of hours later.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Rosecrans Baldwin on Feb 20 2013

The best part about The Dinner was this tension taking place above the plates. As the meal wore on, I realized I couldn't get up from the table.

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by A. J. Kirby on Feb 12 2013

The Dinner never steps back. It presents a world built on flimsy premises and promises, a world in which the tectonic plates of youth and age, innocence and experience, rich and poor, rub together.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Alex Good on Feb 22 2013

Reminiscent of Ian McEwan, only with more bite, The Dinner presents itself both as a bourgeois horror story and a case study in moral psychology, asking pointed questions about moral responsibility, and how morality is influenced by family...race...

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National Post arts

Excellent
Reviewed by Jc Sutcliffe on Feb 19 2013

...a pinch of genre, a teaspoon of literariness, drizzled with familiarity and resting on a bed of undemanding and compelling plot...

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The Telegraph

Good
on Aug 09 2012

With its propulsive forward momentum, cast of angry unsympathetic characters and interest in the consequences of sudden, startling outbursts of violence, The Dinner is reminiscent of recent bestseller, The Slap.

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The Bookbag

Excellent
on Aug 18 2012

In the end I found it a highly original, thought provoking and entertaining read about feuding families.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Excellent
on Aug 11 2012

The Dinner is a masterful, disturbing piece of theatre.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Excellent
on Aug 07 2012

Absurd futility scratches at the heart of Dutch writer Herman Koch's brilliant novel The Dinner.

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Macleans

Excellent
on Feb 01 2013

The Dinner is a book you won’t want to put down.

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We Love This Book

Good
on Aug 01 2012

Already a best-seller across Europe, this tense and thought-provoking family drama is set to become a major literary talking point in the UK as it asks the question: ‘just how far would you go to protect your family?’

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London Evening Standard

Above average
on Aug 09 2012

Like its more accomplished literary stablemates, The Slap and We Need to Talk about Kevin, The Dinner is a conversation piece as much as a novel.

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Red Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Victoria Cooper on Aug 02 2012

With lacerating insight and sophisticated ambiguities, The Dinner proves Koch to be a master of his craft. Already renowned in his native Holland...let us hope The Dinner puts Koch firmly on the British menu.

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The Sunday Times

Good
on Jul 22 2012

This novel is a slick, thrillerish and highly enjoyable production.

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The Daily Review

Good
on Sep 19 2012

Koch’s The Dinner forces us to consider what we would do if Michel or Rick was our 15-year-old son.

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The Melbourne Review

Above average

The Dinner is not the kind of novel that pretends to be their proving ground. Rather, it is a novel of provocations.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Jc Sutcliffe on Feb 15 2013

Perhaps more enjoyable books such as The Dinner — a pinch of genre, a teaspoon of literariness, drizzled with familiarity and resting on a bed of undemanding and compelling plot — could function like the sweet vegetables parents offer to babies in the hope that their palates will one day develop sufficiently...

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Reader Rating for The Dinner
58%

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Karen Russo 7 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 2.5 out of 5

User Review

ipsita barik 9 Oct 2014

The Dinner by Herman Koch - (originally in dutch , translated into English)
1. it is a small book - you could finish it within a day, if you got the time.
2. it is not a conventional thriller/sus...

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ipsita barik

ipsita barik 9 Oct 2014

Liked the book

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ipsita barik 9 Oct 2014

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Evee Lee 25 Jan 2014

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Hamed Manoochehri 10 Jan 2014

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ipsita barik 30 Nov 2013

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ipsita barik 30 Nov 2013

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